Hyatt Place is a convenient home base from which to explore. // © 2018 Hyatt Place Portland-Old Port
Feature image (above): In Portland, Maine, visitors are never far from the water. // © 2018 Getty Images
In Portland, Maine, visitors are never far from the water. It’s what draws many to the popular coastal destination, which is set on a peninsula jutting into Casco Bay. Whether taking in the scenery on a sunset cruise, savoring the day’s fresh catch or strolling Portland’s picturesque waterfront, there are many ways to experience the city’s seaside splendor.
For many visitors, sampling Portland’s super fresh and plentiful seafood is a must-do. On Commercial Street, which runs the length of Portland’s working waterfront, casual eateries and upscale spots offer extensive menus with seafood dishes. In the historical Old Port district, acclaimed restaurants such as Fore Street, Eventide Oyster Co., Duckfat and Central Provisions highlight local ingredients and talented chefs.
Just south of Portland in Cape Elizabeth, food truck Bite Into Maine is a go-to spot for lobster rolls with a view. The mobile eatery, which serves a half-dozen variations of the classic New England sandwich, sets up shop near the rocky cliffs of Fort Williams Park. Diners can dig into a Maine-style lobster roll (dressed with mayo and fresh chives) or a Connecticut-style roll — sweet, succulent lobster meat with nothing but melted butter, served in a toasted, buttered bun.
Waterfront lodging options include Hyatt Place Portland-Old Port, which opened in 2014. The 130-room hotel’s prime location makes it a convenient home base from which to explore local shops, galleries, cafes, breweries and more. Original works by Maine artists are displayed here, too.
Each modern, spacious guestroom features a sitting area, a plush bed, a coffeemaker, a minifridge and complimentary Wi-Fi access. Some rooms have balconies with spectacular waterfront views. Eco-friendly features include electric-car charging stations. The hotel also offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport and anywhere within a 1-mile radius.
Clients who want to get out on the water have a number of day trip and excursion options. Many local operators offer scenic cruises to nearby islands in Casco Bay and narrated boat tours that provide insight into area lighthouses, wildlife and historical sites such as Fort Gorges, a Civil War-era granite military fort surrounded by water.
Clients can kick back and relax at the Eastern Promenade, a 68-acre waterfront park with trails, a sandy beach and grassy hills that provide sweeping views of the bay. For more active travelers, several local outfitters offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, along with lessons and guided expeditions.
Portland doesn’t have a lighthouse, but several nearby towns do, including South Portland and Cape Elizabeth. Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth is home to Maine’s oldest lighthouse, the postcard-worthy Portland Head Light. Visitors to the lighthouse can explore an on-site museum and stroll along a small rocky beach.